There's been no shortage of talk about jobs from the six candidates seeking a seat on the Lawrence City Commission.
On one side, there are Commissioners Boog Highberger and David Schauner and candidate Carey Maynard-Moody. The three generally have said the city's job growth - although not stellar - has largely followed national trends. They've also taken exception to criticism that the current City Commission has fostered an unhealthy environment for job growth.
On the other side are candidates James Bush, Rob Chestnut and Mike Dever. That trio has said the city's job growth has trailed other communities. They also generally have said the City Commission has not done enough to welcome and recruit new businesses to Lawrence.
Here's what each candidate had to say when asked to explain their "single best idea to attract jobs to Lawrence."
Bush said he thought creating a partnership that would establish a new vocational training school in Lawrence would make the city a more attractive place for businesses to locate.
"Businesses would come to Lawrence because of a broad-based work force," Bush said. "But the partnership has to include a collective attitude from the City Commission that we have put out the welcome mat and are open for business."
Chestnut said the City Commission needs to work to strengthen its partnership between the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Douglas County Commission on funding economic development recruitment efforts.
He said he's concerned about a decision by the City Commission to create a city position of economic development planner because it may send mixed messages to potential employers about which organization they should be dealing with.
"We need to ensure that we are speaking with one voice to all the potential employers out there," Chestnut said. "That's important because that is where it all starts."
Dever said he would "ramp up" the activity of the Lawrence-Douglas County Economic Development Board. He said the board of community leaders and elected officials needs to meet more often and be more proactive in communicating economic development activities to city commissioners.
"There's really no one third-party measuring stick to see how the chamber is doing in its recruitment efforts," Dever said. "Accountability is my one big idea."
Highberger, an incumbent commissioner, said focusing efforts on attracting bioscience companies would produce the best chance for Lawrence to attract new, high-quality jobs to the city.
"There's a great wealth of research at KU," Highberger said. "If we create a culture of providing the proper support, a lot of that research could turn into local job opportunities."
Maynard-Moody said creating additional vocational training opportunities in Lawrence was important.
"I think it would be really helpful in our community to have more variety in our work force," Maynard-Moody said.
Schauner, an incumbent commissioner, said the community needs to come to a mutual understanding about how it will attract new jobs.
"We need a common vision for our future, which includes an agreement that we will never again utter the words that 'Lawrence is no growth,'" Schauner said. "The people who say that are doing a disservice to the community, because the more it is said the more people begin to believe it. And it just isn't true."
The election is Tuesday. Voters will choose the winners of three at-large seats on the commission.